BANGKOK, Oct. 15 (Xinhuanet) - The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned
that the H5N1 bird flu strain is mutating into a new subtype which could be
transmitted among humans, the Thai News Agency reported Saturday.
WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr. Shigeru Omi on Friday
said in Manila that efforts to contain the pandemic had not been effective. He
urged affected countries to share more information on bird flu and supply
samples to the international community in order to keep track of what form the
virus is mutating into.
Dr. Omi said Southeast Asia alone needs 260 million US dollars to combat
bird flu in the short-term. In September, the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) set up a 2-million US dollar fund to help member nations contain
avian flu and other infectious diseases.
He estimated that WHO needs 160 million US dollars immediately to help bird flu-hit
nations strengthen their ability to diagnose and monitor the disease, as well
as to stockpile anti-viral drugs, namely Tamilflu.
Meanwhile, Thai Interior Minister Air Chief Marshal Kongsak Wanthana has ordered
provincial governors nationwide to pay special attention to a possible outbreak
of avian influenza during the upcoming cold season.
Special attention must also be given to poultry movements especially in the central and northern regions that were hardest hit by the epidemic last year. Enditem